Student involvement, hands-on experience and media collaboration are all exemplified at the University of Arizona's UATV Channel 3, the campus television station.
For students at the station, the opportunity to gain substantial experience in the media business allows them to jump-start their professional careers.
And, in recent years, those opportunities, along with the numbers of students involved, have been expanding.
UATV, which broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week to the thousands of students living in University residence halls, offers three weekly, student-led television programs. "Wildcast" centers on news happening on and off campus; "Dorm Room Sports Chat," or DRSC, is dedicated to reporting on UA and professional sports.
And "UA Tonight with Mike Brilliant" – the newest addition – is a comedy talk show. The show, which debuted in late January, follows a traditional late-night talk show format with an opening monologue, guest interviews and a concluding musical performance.
For general manager Melanie Huonker, the lessons learned through working at the station has led to a more than worthwhile experience.
"I've never really managed anything before. Our previous general managers Patrick Hayes and Sarah Kezele really helped me along the way," said Huonker, adding that she aspires to "leave an impact on the station."
Huonker, a senior in the UA School of Journalism, began at the station when she was a sophomore. She started as a reporter and later was selected for the role of general manager going into her senior year.
"We have grown so much in the last few years. I am so proud to see the growth of everyone here as they begin to learn in a more hands-on environment," said Huonker.
More than 40 students work at the station in positions that include reporters, on-camera anchors and production assistants.
"I've had a great experience so far at UATV," said journalism freshman Erika Parra, a member of the station's in-studio crew.
"Working behind the scenes, you see how everything is run and what it takes to make a great show," Parra said.
Parra, also a member of the UA student chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, said the most meaningful lesson she's learned is the importance of flexibility.
"In studio, we have to be able to work with cameras, the sound board and more. You have to be ready to work anything and also know what you are doing because you are working live," said Parra, adding that her dream career would be to work as a basketball analyst for ESPN.
Mike Brilliant, a film and media studies junior, initially worked with UATV behind the scenes as a director for "Wildcast." Now Brilliant is hosting the new comedy show.
"I like to be myself on the air. If I had to compare myself to any other talk show host, I would say that my style is similar to Jimmy Kimmel," said Brilliant, also a member of the on-campus student radio station KAMP.
Brilliant, who hopes to one day host his own talk show for a major network, said he feels a sense of gratitude for the UA because it has such a range of opportunities in place for students.
"Arizona Student Media is all about opportunity," Brilliant said. "I could not be doing any of this at any other university."